The fourth son of Rev. John and Margaret Miller, Samuel
Miller was born near Dover, Delaware on October 31, 1769. He completed
studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1789 and began studying
theology under his father's tutelage. Following Rev. John Miller's
death in 1791, Samuel moved to Carlisle, Pennsylvania to complete his
theological studies with Charles Nisbet, president of Dickinson College.
Samuel was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry on June 5, 1793 and
was called to the Presbyterian churches of New York City, serving alongside
Rev. Dr. John Rodgers and Rev. Dr. John McKnight. In 1806, he was named
moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly, and for several years
also served as its official historian.
While in New York, Miller was active
not only in the church, but also as an author. His best-known work,
the two-volume Brief Retrospect
of the Eighteenth Century, printed in 1803, earned him serious attention
and acclaim. He published his Letters on the Constitution and Order
of the Christian Ministry in 1807 and wrote a memoir of Dr. John Rodgers
in 1813. Also while in New York, Miller served as chaplain for the
first regiment of the New York State artillery.
Miller continued his service
in New York until 1813, when he was appointed professor of church history
and government at the newly established
Princeton Theological Seminary. While teaching and preaching, he continued
to write and publish. He wrote a memoir of his mentor, Charles Nisbet,
in 1840, penned a life of Jonathan Edwards for Jared Sparks' American
Biography series, and published numerous speeches and sermons on various
Among his other activities, Miller served as a trustee of both
Columbia College and the College of New Jersey, as a founder and president
the New York Bible Society, as a founder of the New York Historical
Society, and as a corresponding member of the Massachusetts Historical
On October 24, 1801, Samuel Miller married Sarah Sergeant, the
daughter of Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, attorney general of Pennsylvania.
couple had ten children, including sons Samuel, Elihu, and John. Rev.
Samuel Miller continued in his teaching position at the Princeton Theological
Seminary until his death on January 7, 1850.
Please visit the following link for materials authored
by Samuel Miller maintained in the Their Own Words database:
Miller, Samuel, 1769-1850.